Vyrix Files for $29M IPO to Develop Anti-Premature Ejaculation Drug

4/18/14Follow @MichaelXBD

Vyrix Pharmaceuticals, a privately held Colorado-based drug development company attempting to develop a treatment for premature ejaculation, is going public and seeks to raise $28.75 million, according to SEC filings.

The company did not announce a share price or say when its initial public offering would take place. Vyrix would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol “VYRX.”

Vyrix would use the money to finance development of tramadol hydrochloride (Zertane), which it wants to bring to market as the first drug approved by the FDA for premature ejaculation. Zertane would be taken orally and as-needed a few hours before sexual activity.

In its prospectus, Vyrix described a large potential market for its drug, stating that premature ejaculation affects 20 to 30 percent of men worldwide. Vyrix cited research that says it is more common than erectile dysfunction, the condition targeted by blockbuster drugs such as Viagra and Cialis.

While there are no drugs approved for premature ejaculation, some antidepressants have been prescribed “off label” for the condition.

Vyrix plans on marketing the drug in the U.S. either on its own or with partners. It already has commercialization agreements in place for other territories, including one announced last week for marketing Zertane in Canada, Latin America, and parts of Africa.

But it could be a while before Zertane comes on the market, if it does at all. The FDA has not approved the drug, and Vyrix said it must successfully complete two late-stage clinical trials before receiving approval.

Another potential risk for Vyrix is that tramadol already is available as a generic medication. Tramadol is a painkiller and has been available by prescription for several decades. Zertane is a specially calibrated dose, but it could find competition from doctors prescribing the now-standard dosages.

Zertane is the only drug candidate Vyrix has in clinical development, although it is conducting preclinical development of Zertane-ED, a combination treatment for premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.

Vyrix is based in Greenwood Village and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ampio Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: AMPE). Ampio spun off Vyrix late last year so Vyrix could focus on developing drugs for premature ejaculation. Ampio continues to develop its treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee and macular degeneration caused by diabetes. In March, Ampio raised $63.3 million following the completion of an underwritten public offering.

Ampio will remain the majority shareholder in Vyrix after the IPO, the prospectus said.

Aegis Capital and Fordham Financial Management are the joint bookrunners on the deal.

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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